Acta Herpetologica <div> <p><em>Acta Herpetologica</em>, a journal open to academics all over the world, offers itself as a new site for the presentation and discussion of the most recent results in the field of research on Amphibians and Reptiles, both living and extinct. The official journal of the&nbsp;<em>Societas Herpetologica Italica</em>&nbsp;(S.H.I.), Acta Herpetologica publishes original works – extended articles, short notes and book reviews – mostly in English, dealing with the biology and diversity of Amphibians and Reptiles.</p> </div> <p><br><strong>Editor in Chief</strong><br>Marco Mangiacotti, Università degli Studi di Pavia, Italy</p> Firenze University Press en-US Acta Herpetologica 1827-9635 <p>Authors retain the copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a <strong>Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (<a href="">CC-BY-4.0</a>)</strong> that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgment of the work's authorship and initial publication.</p> <p><a href="" rel="license"><img src="" alt="Creative Commons License"></a><br>This work is licensed under a <a href="" rel="license">Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License</a></p> Has the West been won? A field survey and a species distribution model of Iberolacerta horvathi in the Alps <p class="p1"><span class="s1">The Horvath’s rock lizard (<em>Iberolacerta horvathi</em>) is a rupicolous mountain species endemic of the eastern Alps and northern Dinaric range. The species has its known western limit of the distribution in the Veneto region of Italy. It is not known whether the species is really rare in Veneto or whether the area has been insufficiently surveyed. In addition, it is not known whether the westward distribution of the species is limited by a physiographic or by a climatic barrier. During the period 2016-2018, 118 sites were surveyed in the Veneto and Trentino-Alto Adige regions. Four new occurrences of <em>Iberolacerta horvathi</em> were discovered in Veneto that: 1) largely fill the gap between the westernmost known site and the closest site to the east; 2) extend further west the known distribution by 9 km. In addition the species was confirmed in three already known sites. A species distribution model was developed with the software MaxEnt, using 100 occurrences from Italy, Austria and Slovenia. The best model shows that the distribution is explained by the asperity of their habitat, the sedimentary bedrock, the aspect, the average temperature of the coldest quarter, the rainfall seasonality and the average summer rainfall. The last variable appears as the most likely responsible for the rarefaction of the species at its western limit. In addition, the species distribution model suggest that the Horvath’s rock lizard might be present in some additional mountain groups where it has so far not been found yet.</span></p> Giuseppe De Marchi Giovanni Bombieri Bruno Boz Fausto Leandri Jacopo Richard Copyright (c) 2020 Giuseppe De Marchi, Giovanni Bombieri, Bruno Boz, Fausto Leandri, Jacopo Richard 2020-05-17 2020-05-17 15 1 3 14 10.13128/a_h-8448 First record of underwater sound produced by the Balkan crested newt (Triturus ivanbureschi) <p class="p1">This study presents first evidence for underwater sounds produced by adult Balkan crested newts (<em>Triturus ivanbureschi</em>). Recordings were made in spring of 2019 in controlled laboratory conditions using a commercially available omnidirectional hydrophone connected to a linear PCM recorder. A total of 27 animals (21 males, 6 females) were recorded under different conditions: (a) alone in an empty tank, (b) alone in a tank full of vegetation, and (c) a pair in an empty tank. Results indicated that both male and female newts produced a click-like sound with a mean duration of 34 ms (± 5.31 SD; range: 27-51) and mean peak frequency of 1887 Hz (± 405 SD; range: 1162-2770). Not all newts tested produced sounds and there were no statistically significant differences between males and females or recordings under different conditions in terms of click number, duration and frequency parameters, with the exception of the ratio of peak frequency/bandwidth at 50% peak amplitude, which was lower for clicks produced in the vegetated tank. Newt snout-vent length and body mass also had no effect on any of the studied parameters. The obtained results suggest that clicks could have a function in orientation and exploratory behaviour.</p> Simeon Lukanov Copyright (c) 2020 Simeon Lukanov 2020-05-17 2020-05-17 15 1 15 20 10.13128/a_h-7863 Identification of biologically active fractions in the dermal secretions of the genus Bombina (Amphibia: Anura: Bombinatoridae) <p class="p1">Amphibian skin secretions have long been considered a convenient and useful natural source of bioactive compounds, but a comprehensive study of the effects of their dermal secretions on diverse parameters of the hemostasis system has not yet been carried out. This study aimed at identifying biologically active fractions in the skin secretions of <em>B. bombina</em>, <em>B. variegata</em>, and their hybrid<em> – B.bombina </em>×<em> B.variegata,</em> and to clarify whether their components can modify certain parameters of the hemostasis system. For the skin secretion analysis, we performed ion-exchange chromatography, electrophoresis, and zymography assays. Plasma coagulation tests, chromogenic assays, and platelet aggregation assays were also conducted<em> in vitro</em>. As a result of the fractionation, a number of fractions were identified, where the proteins with miscellaneous molecular weights were revealed. The data also suggested that some fractions have proteolytic enzymes with gelatinolytic, fibrinogenolytic and collagenolytic activities. The proteins present in the fraction #5 of <em>B. variegata</em> and #5 of the hybrid secretions are characterized by the ability to prolong the clotting plug formation in the aPTT. Proteins capable of inducing platelet aggregation in the rabbit PRP are present in the fraction #3 of <em>B. variegata </em>secretions. The ability of dermal components to activate plasma proenzymes is indicative of the fact that the non-protein components of fraction #9 of <em>B. variegata</em> and fraction #7 of hybrid secretions initiated the appearance of thrombin and activated protein C in plasma.</p> Iryna Udovychenko Oleksandra Oskyrko Oleksii Marushchak Tetiana Halenova Oleksii Savchuk Copyright (c) 2020 Iryna Udovychenko, Oleksandra Oskyrko, Oleksii Marushchak, Tetiana Halenova, Oleksii Savchuk 2020-05-17 2020-05-17 15 1 21 29 10.13128/a_h-7858 Don’t tread on me: an examination of the anti-predatory behavior of Eastern Copperheads (Agkistrodon contortrix) <p class="p1">Venomous snake species across the globe have been historically categorized as aggressive and dangerous, leading to widespread persecution and killings. Despite the conservation importance of educating the public about the docile nature of these species, few studies have attempted to quantify the response of viperid species to human interactions. Here we report the responses of free-ranging copperheads to a potential human encounter using a set of hierarchical behavioral trials. Out of a total of 69 snakes, only two individuals feigned striking and only two attempted to bite (3% of all individuals). Our results support the findings of previous studies documenting the docile nature of other viperid species and can hopefully be used to change the public perception of venomous snakes. Convincing the public and policy makers that viperid species are docile is critical to long-term conservation of these species in the U.S. and around the globe.</p> Andrew Adams John Garrison Scott McDaniel Emily Bueche Hunter Howell Copyright (c) 2020 Andrew Adams, John Garrison, Scott McDaniel, Emily Bueche, Hunter Howell 2020-05-17 2020-05-17 15 1 31 37 10.13128/a_h-7757 An overview of research regarding reservoirs, vectors and predators of the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis <p class="p1">This review presents an overview of research from 1998-2018 regarding interactions of <em>Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis</em> with both potential hosts and predators. To this end, 23 different studies collected from the Web of Science database along with two external journals were utilized, encompassing numerous taxonomic groups. Numerous groups of animals were identified as potential vectors for the fungus, with crayfish and reptiles standing as the most prominent and consistent non-amphibian hosts warranting their inclusion in any future broadscale distribution surveys. an important area for future research. Additionally, <em>Daphnia</em> were noted to serve as predators of the zoospores when exposed in mesocosm scenarios, reducing infection levels in corresponding tadpoles. Caecilians have also been observed to be carriers of <em>Bd</em>, though the level as to which the chytrid impacts these organisms needs to be further researched. In total, this review indicates that future research needs to begin including freshwater crustaceans, caecilians and reptiles in field studies for presence/absence, while a broader range of taxa need to be tested to see whether they serve as vectors or hosts in natural scenarios.</p> Jarid Prahl Thomas P. Wilson David Giles J. Hill Craddock Copyright (c) 2020 Jarid Prahl, Thomas P. Wilson, David Giles, J. Hill Craddock 2020-05-17 2020-05-17 15 1 39 45 10.13128/a_h-8744 Genetic characteristics of an introduced population of Bombina bombina (Linnaeus, 1761) (Amphibia: Bombinatoridae) in Moselle, France <p class="p1">The fire-bellied toad <em>Bombina bombina </em>has recently been introduced in Moselle, north-eastern France, in an area where the yellow-bellied toad <em>Bombina variegata </em>occurs naturally. Both species hybridize in a wide area throughout Europe where their distribution overlaps. Therefore, there is a risk of introgression regarding the <em>Bombina variegata</em> population in north-eastern France. In order to assess the status of the introduced population of <em>Bombina bombina</em> and its origin, we investigated its genetic characteristics and structure using both mitochondrial (cytochrome b) and nuclear DNA (microsatellites markers). The results demonstrated a lack of introgression in the <em>Bombina variegata </em>population. Though experiencing a bottleneck effect, the introduced <em>Bombina bombina</em> population displays a high genetic diversity. If a propensity for expansion is found within the introduced population of <em>Bombina bombina</em>, it could be considered as a potential invasive species in France, and thus threaten the native species.</p> Jean-Pierre Vacher Damien Aumaitre Sylvain Ursenbacher Copyright (c) 2020 Jean-Pierre Vacher, Damien Aumaitre, Sylvain Ursenbacher 2020-05-17 2020-05-17 15 1 47 54 10.13128/a_h-7648 Adaptive significance of the transparent body in the tadpoles of ornamented pygmy frog, Microhyla ornata (Anura, Amphibia) <p class="p1">In Southern India, during the Southwest monsoon phase, the newly formed ephemeral water bodies harbour several species of tadpoles as well as some of their predators. Tadpoles of <em>Microhyla ornata</em> dwell in surface or column zones of water. They face predation threat from aquatic insect predators and carnivorous tadpoles of other anurans though they are invisible due to their transparent body form. We tested whether transparent body form of <em>M. ornata</em> tadpoles is a useful attribute against predation by exposing tail fin stained (with the Nile blue) subjects to a naturally occurring predator (<em>Hoplobatrachus tigerinus</em> tadpoles that detect prey using both visual and chemical cues). The study shows that susceptibility of stained <em>M. ornata</em> tadpoles to predation increased significantly compared to the unstained transparent individuals. We conclude that the transparent body form is of great significance in escaping predation during the larval phase of life in <em>M. ornata</em>.</p> Santosh M. Mogali Bhagyashri A. Shanbhag Srinivas K. Saidapur Copyright (c) 2020 Santosh M. Mogali, Bhagyashri A. Shanbhag, Srinivas K. Saidapur 2020-05-17 2020-05-17 15 1 55 57 10.13128/a_h-8871 Comparison of complement system activity amongst wild and domestic animals <p class="p1">Multiple mechanisms have evolved for the defensive recognition of foreign components, such as microorganisms. The majority of immunological studies with vertebrates have been focused on endothermic species, and relatively little attention has been directed toward ectothermic vertebrates. We employed a colorimetric assay designed to compare plasma hemolytic activities based on the serum complement system (CS) activities amongst some representative reptiles, wild and domestic birds, and mammals. Results obtained from the hemolytic assays conducted with plasma derived from all of the animal species used showed that broad-snouted caiman had the highest activity, and no differences were observed in the hemolytic activities of plasma from birds or the other reptile species. In contrast, the CS activity obtained with mammalian plasma was markedly lower than that from the other taxa. This assay has many advantages, such as the requirement of small sample volume, reproducible results, and low cost. In addition, unsensitized sheep red blood cell hemolysis can be successfully used for the evaluation of innate immune system activities in non-mammalian species; however, for mammals, it should be combined with other immunological determinates to evaluate integral innate immunocompetence.</p> Maria S. Moleón Mark E. Merchant Hugo H. Ortega Pablo A. Siroski Copyright (c) 2020 María S. Moleón, Mark E. Merchant, Hugo H. Ortega, Pablo A. Siroski 2020-05-17 2020-05-17 15 1 59 64 10.13128/a_h-7903 Effects of temperature and food level on plasticity of metamorphic traits in Bufo gargarizans gargarizans larvae <p class="p1">Many environmental factors such as temperature or food level may influence growth and mortality risks of ectothermic vertebrates in both aquatic and terrestrial habitats. In this study, plasticity in growth rates, survival, larval period, and size at metamorphosis were examined in <em>Bufo gargarizans</em> <em>gargarizans</em> larvae under different combinations of temperature and food level. Our results showed that larvae metamorphosed at an older age when reared at 17.3°C. A significant interaction between food level and temperature revealed that the food level has obviously affected length of larval period when tadpoles raised at 17.3 °C, but not at 27.3 or 31.3 °C. Also, we found clear evidence that growth rates are influenced by both temperature and food level. Interestingly, tadpoles reared at 17.3 °C had larger size at metamorphosis than those reared at other temperatures, suggesting that <em>B. g. gargarizans</em> larvae reared at cold temperatures have a longer developmental period but they are also larger as metamorphs than conspecifics reared at warmer temperatures. Therefore, the global climate change or local manipulations of the environment may promote growth and development of<em> B. g. gargarizans</em> larvae, but not large size at metamorphosis.</p> Tong Lei Yu Yan Ting Han Copyright (c) 2020 Tong Lei Yu, Yan Ting Han 2020-05-17 2020-05-17 15 1 65 69 10.13128/a_h-8119